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British Cycling policy advisor responds to criticism, saying it "obscures real issues"...

Chris Boardman’s appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning has provoked a flurry of complaints about his not wearing a cycle helmet – even though the segment began with him explaining why he chose not to do so. In a detailed explanation this afternoon, Boardman says that while the reaction was "understandable," it is also "unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues."

The early morning TV show is featuring a report on cycling each day this week. It is broadcast from Salford, close to the Manchester headquarters of British Cycling, where former Olympic champion Boardman is policy advisor.

Prior to going on a bike ride with him, presenter Louise Minchin asked Boardman, “Viewers will notice I will be wearing a helmet but you won’t. Why not?”

He replied: “It’s a very long answer and more time than we’ve got here," before summarising his position briefly.

“It discourages people from riding a bike, you’re as safe riding a bike as you are walking, statistically, you’re much safer than you are going in your own bathroom and you don’t wear a helmet there," he explained.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with helmets, but it’s not in the top ten things that you can do to keep safe.

“We’re going to look at all of those things, but for me, I want bikes to be for normal people in normal clothes.

“About 0.5 per cent of people wear one in the Netherlands, yet it’s the safest country in the world,” he added.

“There’s a reason for that.”

Despite his explanation, the backlash on social media was predictable, many pointing out that the Netherlands already has the type of infrastructure that Boardman and others are campaigning for in the UK.

One Facebook user, John Stimpson, said: “Chris Boardman wearing no helmet and riding in black jacket and jeans. For an item on cycling safety you can't get more stupid.”

Another, Toni Smith, said: “How can you show a piece about cycling safety when the ex-champion is not wearing any safety gear? This is not acceptable! Please in the future choose an ambassador who practices what they preach!”

Many others leapt to his defence, however, with Morgan Lewis saying: “For all those people expressing outrage, I wonder if you have spent the same amount of time looking at the evidence about helmets over the years as Chris Boardman has. His view is not idly held. There is a lot of knee-jerking in these comments.”

Jonathan Richards pointed out: “About two thirds of fatalities WITHIN cars are caused by head injuries - why not a call for compulsory helmets for those travelling in cars? And as for pedestrians ....”

Meanwhile, Chris Myrie couldn’t resist asking: “Does this mean his £80 endorsed helmets from Halfords are useless?”

There was a similar division in reaction to his comments on Twitter, where Boardman himself tweeted this morning after the show: “Hi All, rather than try to address the helmet debate (again) I'm going to pen something for people to read and point you to it this PM.”

That response has now been published on the British Cycling website. Boardman acknowledged the BBC Breakfast piece had “got a lot of people fired up,” and that “my riding a bicycle in normal clothing, looking like a normal person was greeted by some with cries of horror. It’s both understandable and unfortunate because it obscures what I believe are the real issues.”

Foremost among those issues is why some cyclists in the UK believe they should have to wear a helmet while cycling in the first place, he said.

“People wear helmets and high vis as they feel it’s all they can do to keep themselves safe. It shows just how far away Britain is from embracing cycling as a normal and convenient form of transport,” he added.

Pointing to the example of Utrecht in the Netherlands and providing a link to a video of people cycling there he went on: “I’m willing to bet that even those that swear by helmets and high vis would feel comfortable discarding their body armour in such an environment. And that’s the point; in Utrecht they have addressed the real dangers to cyclists.”

While he admitted that the situation in the UK is vastly different, he said helmet compulsion was not the answer, citing drops of between 30 and 50 per cent in countries such as Australia and New Zealand that had introduced such legislation.

“If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle,” he said. The more people cycle, the safer they are - the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses. Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.”

Boardman said he understands “exactly why people feel so passionately about helmets or high vis,” and “why people wish to use them,” but said he would not promote helmets or hi-vis nor be drawn into a debate on a topic that he considers “isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

He added: “I want cycling in the UK to be like it is in Utrecht or Copenhagen and more recently New York City – an everyday thing that people can do in everyday clothes whether you are eight or 80 years old. I want cycling to be a normal thing that normal people do in normal clothes. Is that wrong?”

In the BBC Breakfast report itself, Boardman outlined his top tips for cycling safely including planning your route, how to negotiate junctions and roundabouts safely, road position, stopping at red lights and giving large vehicles plenty of space and not going up the left-hand side of them.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

285 comments

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Tony [132 posts] 3 years ago
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Trackal wrote:

Wearing a helmet or fluoro clothes in the UK do not make you safe but they do, theoretically, reduce your risk of being injured.

As Yogi Berri said, in theory, practice and theory are the same but in practice they're different. And so it is that research at Nottingham and Bath shows that visibility aids do not reduce the risk but may increase it while research from Plymouth and Cambridge show that helmets in the UK at least give no safety benefit. C'est la vie

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fukawitribe [2091 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
Condor flyer wrote:

There has never been a proper study to ascertain the efficacy of cycle helmets. The pros and cons have never been robustly tested

There have been some "experiments". Australian laws increased the wearing rate from about 33% to well over 90%. One might expect that if helmets work the effect would be very clear. It was not. The number of cyclists decreased considerably, and the rate of head injuries increased.
This may not be a proper study, but it looks pretty unequivocal to me.

http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

I think the Austrailian studies and similar NZ discussions in the rdrf links are properly equivocal in that they put forward reasoned possible causes for the figures. What they don't do, and don't pretend to do, is deal in isolation with the ability of a cycle helmet to prevent certain injuries which is perhaps more what Condor flyer was talking about (apologies if not).

Helmets can arguably help in some cases, e.g. lacerations of the scalp, 'rebound' concussion injury and maybe equally arguably make things worse in others, e.g. concussion due to tangential strikes, neck injuries and so on. These studies deal with much broader, and probably more immediately important, issues. Fall off your bike on your tod and a helmet may make a much appreciated difference, get in an argument with a bus or van at any significantly velocity and it will probably make zero difference to the outcome, impose a blanket ban on riding without a helmet and you fuck things up for all manner of non-mechanical reasons.

Hey, that's my take on it anyway.

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Tony [132 posts] 3 years ago
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LinusLarrabee wrote:

It really is eye-opening how retarded some of you people are.

As far as I can tell, nobody in these comments has called for compulsary helmet wearing.

However, a lot of people have made irrational, nonsensical arguments against helmets - often employing irrelevant personal experiences or completely stupid analogies.

I'd have more respect for you idiots if you simply said you don't want to wear a helmet out of personal choice and shut the f#%k up, rather than trying to make logical arguments your pea sized brains are not equiped to make.

"When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff."
Marcus Tullius Cicero

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fluffy_mike [103 posts] 3 years ago
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How about not having compulsory wearing of helmets with the proviso that a cyclist with head injuries who does not wear a helmet is kept alive only long enough to harvest the organs?

Yes, that's fine as long as the same rules apply to pedestrians, car drivers, drunks, people slipping the shower, people falling off ladders, and all the other frequent and avoidable causes of head injury.

Is that okay?

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LinusLarrabee [119 posts] 3 years ago
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Tony wrote:

"When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff."
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Having made my argument much earlier today in these comments, and having had nobody actually argue against what I said - only what some morons misconstrued from my comments - your pointless little quote is, well, pointless. I will concede that I was rude and quite happily so - that was the intention. However, I can always stop being rude any time i choose to, but as the great Ron White said, "you can't fix stupid", "stupid is forever!" - "there isn't a pill you can take or a class you can go to". So you're pretty much stuck. How about that for a quote that has no meaning to this discussion, but quite aptly sums up the problem people will have dealing with the likes of you and muppets like felixcat?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F-tHAPfhTtA

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Ripper [19 posts] 3 years ago
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Helmets are rubbish! If you really feel that it's too damn dangerous to get out there without one, then you probably shouldn't be out there at all. Think about getting a life before a helmet.  36

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OldRidgeback [2847 posts] 3 years ago
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My experience of many years of cycle commuting in London both wearing and not wearing a cycle helmet tells me that my head was just as uninjured in the spills I didn't have when I wasn't wearing a helmet as when I was. I wear a helmet when I'm racing or training because it's required and also good sense. I also wear a helmet when I'm riding my BMX at the skatepark or riding MTBs offroad. Other than that and for road riding, I don't bother.

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urbane [96 posts] 3 years ago
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Yes, accidents could be minimised by much smarter road and cycle path design, competent other users, and limited speed where sensible; however nasty accidents can WTF occur even at low speeds and it is only a matter of time before you injure your head, as I eventually learned the nasty way after years of cycling and only limb graze and bruise crashes, so it is tempting fate not to wearing a helmet.

The killed NZ cyclists were probably either wearing "lid" helmets or suffered other fatal momentum impact injuries e.g. a broken neck.

Most people who wear bicycle helmets wear "lids". All "lid" bicycle helmets compromise dent resistance and helmet area for lightness and ventilation, for often negligent protection standards; this compromises impact injury protection by limiting the area an impact is cushioned and spread over the skull, so limits protection from head injury, including brain impact on the inside of the skull; they also provide inadequate protection for the front and lower back of the skull, because I know 1st hand that a chin strap will not completely stop a helmet moving on the head during a crash!

Helmets with less ventilation area, a tougher skin, larger head area protection and more padding, can make head injury less likely; the best of these are proper full face MTB downhill helmets. FYI: from personal crash experience, the MET Parachute is a "lid" excuse for a full face MTB helmet (the 2014 model looks little different), so best avoided.

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don simon [1717 posts] 3 years ago
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Quince wrote:
don simon wrote:
Quote:

We should enforce stabilisers too. Most incidents occur when people fall off their bikes. Stabilisers make it harder to fall off bicycles, and so reduce risk of injury. I don't see why people don't use them. If enforcing them saves one life, it's worth it.

I once had to turn a corner on my bike. When I turned it, I felt the stabilisers come to my rescue and stop me tipping dangerously far over. I'm sure I would have fallen off, and died, if the stabilisers hadn't caught me. Stabilisers saved my life, and they might save yours too.

I see many adults not riding with stabilisers every day, and sometimes even children!!! It's really riles me up! Irresponsible!!! We cyclists should do everything we can for our own safety, and that includes using proper safety equipment while riding so we can stay stable. You never know when you might have to turn a corner, just like I did. Just remember folks, 'Stay Safe - Stay Stable'. Simple enough, right!?

Unfortunately I have a different story involving stabilisers. While driving through town I got caught behind a young cyclist with stabilisers. In my need to get to the tail of the queue that was up ahead, I just had to get past this cyclist. I made the judgment call that I could get past safely even if it was a bit of a squeeze. I caught the stabiliser and broke it with my front wheel, the modern 4x4 is indeed a heavy old beast, this in turn threw the youngster under my rear wheels and caused an explosion in which we all died.
How safe are your stabilisers now?
The youngster wasn't wearing a helmet either.

That's dreadful! Especially the bit where you died! We must ban stabilisers at once before more of these terrible instances occur!

It was a tad inconvenient to say the least.

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andyp [1549 posts] 3 years ago
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Flying Scot wrote:

If it was me who had paid to license hats with his name on......I would be raging.

Unless of course the helmets are from Stan Boardman.

Why? He hasn't told people not to wear helmets, or not to buy his helmets, or that the helmets with his name on are rubbish. He's just said that there are more important things to worry about. Which is true.

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andyp [1549 posts] 3 years ago
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LinusLarrabee wrote:

"you can't fix stupid", "stupid is forever!"

Oh, the irony.

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Wookie [241 posts] 3 years ago
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Airzound wrote:
Ripper wrote:

Helmets are rubbish! If you really feel that it's too damn dangerous to get out there without one, then you probably shouldn't be out there at all. Think about getting a life before a helmet.  36

There is something called Freedom of Choice you fascist.

 29 You have envoked Godwins Law and as such you have lost the argument  36 36 36 36 36

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iro [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Chris Boardman is of course right and very wrong. Wear a helmet may very well not be in the top 10 things to keep you safe cycling but that doesnt mean they are useless and it is sending the wrong message to youngsters. I grew up in an age when the only option was the laughable leather hair net and even then we only wore them road racing as it was compulsory. I have to say even despite my dislike of helmets i dont even go round the corner to the shops on the bike without one. I definitely wouldnt let my five year old go out without one. He doesnt complain, it doesnt put him off because he thinks its normal to wear a helmet.
a helmet wont save you if you get hit by a truck but it could in a wide range of collisions and falls i have seen. At the very least it could prevent some disfiguring cuts and scars.

Boardman is right that there are plenty of other things that cyclists should be focused on for safety. The thing that wasnt mentioned in the report which in my view, alongside situation awareness, is the biggest factor in keeping cyclists safe is bike handling. I see so many cyclists, even club riders who seem woefully incapable of riding in a straight line, who swerve at the last minute to avoid potholes and drains and cant a hand off the bars to signal without veering across the road.

If you ride in a steady predictable manner, observe the road well ahead, make smooth manouvres to avoid hazards you are much less likely to get into trouble or be hit. Add to that an understanding and practice of basic hazard recognition so that you stop potential dangers and yes stupid actions of other road users before they become life threatening and you are a whole lot safer. In the process you will have increased your chances of survival way more than wearing a helmet.

Yes other road users need educating, but lets not forget in a busy road scene a head on cyclist is very narrow and difficult to see. I am not excusing careless driving but we cyclists need to take responsibility for our own safety.

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Ripper [19 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow, that sounds like an attack from a lofty height. Have I touched a nerve? First off, I never denied anybody their freedom of choice. Secondly, what the heck has "fascist" got to do with my statement?

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 3 years ago
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oh ffs, here we go again. Stop having spats and just ride your bloody bikes with or without a lid
 37

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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gareth2510 wrote:

oh ffs, here we go again. Stop having spats and just ride your bloody bikes with or without a lid
 37

The abuse is all from one side, and from one person.

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mrmo [2096 posts] 3 years ago
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just think, if the effort that was put into the helmet argument was directed towards arguing for improved infrastructure.

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700c [1178 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm relieved that this thread is now closed thanks to Godwin's law.

Well done everyone.

Over and out.

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dwbeever [57 posts] 3 years ago
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Chris Boardman is clearly an intelligent man. But now, I think this BBC appearance has showed him to be clever too!

Provoking a debate over this topic will be hugely valuable, especially if it reaches (transport) policy makers in this country. You only have to look at the number of responses on this item (exceeded only by free competitions!) to know how important the words and actions of CB are.

Just think, had he been wearing a helmet & hi-viz gear then this debate - the real debate over making our roads safer for cyclists - would be over....

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sodit [100 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree with Boardman helmets and high visibility clothing are way down on the list of things that are truly important for greater safety on the road for cyclists.

Helmets and high vis are Personal Protective Equipment. In UK industry PPE is seen as last resort for safety, employers are obliged to use safety system's to ensure employee safety at work. For example you cannot work more than a meter off the ground using a ladder. Scaffolding has to be erected!

It is strange to me that PPE as a first resort is acceptable on our roads but not in the work place.

From a personal point of view I wear a bright yellow reflective helmet when ever I cycle. This is due to the fact that I take warfarin and aspirin to thin the blood due to two different heart conditions, so I am at greater risk of brain haemorrhage in a minor head injury (before anybody asks no I don't wear it walking in the garden or in the car (that has air bags and seat belts), as I don't do 20mph on foot, neither am I perched on a cycle so don't behave like a tit) so a minor head injury for anybody else could be life threatening for me.

So helmets are a personal choice and worn for many reasons.

I also wear a high vis reflective tabard thingy no I don't feel any safer but it keeps my wife happy and it also means that a magistrate or judge cannot say I didn't take sufficient precautions to ensure my own safety on the road.
It also gives vehicle drivers a chance to see me if I am wearing dark clothing. Mind you that only helps if they are bothering to look!!

But the most effective thing I do for safety is to cycle mainly in France as I live there and being totally honest I would seriously consider giving up cycling for some other form of exercise if I moved back to the UK as the infrastructure for cycling and driver attitude towards other forms of transport is so negative and aggressive. This opinion is formed from personal experience when cycling on UK roads and observation of other drivers actions when driving in the UK.

Anyway enough witter have fun and be safe out there

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kamoshika [234 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

just think, if the effort that was put into the helmet argument was directed towards arguing for improved infrastructure.

I think that, more or less, is the point Boardman's making about the whole helmet debate - it's just a distraction from the real issues.

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kamoshika [234 posts] 3 years ago
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andyp wrote:

I wear a seatbelt in a car because a) it's a legal requirement, and b) there is evidence to suggest that they actually have some impact on safety. Neither of which could be argued about cycle helmets.

The other point to make about seatbelts is that if their compulsory use put people off driving that would be a good thing. Mandating (or even just encouraging) helmet use has been shown to put people off cycling, and that's a bad thing for everyone.

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Aapje [242 posts] 3 years ago
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urbane wrote:

however nasty accidents can WTF occur even at low speeds and it is only a matter of time before you injure your head, as I eventually learned the nasty way after years of cycling and only limb graze and bruise crashes

I think your statement tells us more about your proficiency as a cyclist, with your frequent limb grazes and bruise crashes, than about whether helmets make you safer.

There has been no clear statistical evidence that helmets make people safer, unlike car seat belts or motorcycle helmets or separate cycling paths. Actual scientists have actual proof that those work, unlike bicycle helmets. We do know that helmet-laws cause less cycling and more injuries. Cyclists are also often blamed for their injuries when they don't wear one.

So the unscientific claims about the usefulness of helmets bolster the enemies of cycling. It allows them to pretend to care for cyclists while doing something that doesn't cost any tax-payer money and just inconveniences cyclists. It's the classic strategy of doing something that doesn't work, but seems logical and has solid support by the less-informed among your enemy. So you divide the opposition, to weaken them. At the same time, the even less informed general population gets convinced that plenty has been done, so support for measures that actually work is eroded.

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RTB [192 posts] 3 years ago
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Reply to: posted by felixcat [272 posts]
4th November 2014 - 19:10

The original questions posed:

" 1. Can head injuries be caused through the pursuit of cycling?

2. If yes, can the impact of any of those head injuries be mitigated through the use of a helmet? "

ARE valid and it is inescapable that the answers are "yes" and "yes". It is illogical to argue otherwise or as you did alter to other things that are not the subject.

I most certainly did read the board (look before you leap cat!) as it is precisely the reason why I posted given the amount of muddled and mixed objective thinking. In regards to expertise I rather think the Snell Foundation has vastly more substance and experience to offer on the subject than Chris "try to avoid lorries" Boardman.

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RTB [192 posts] 3 years ago
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Aapje wrote:
urbane wrote:

however nasty accidents can WTF occur even at low speeds and it is only a matter of time before you injure your head, as I eventually learned the nasty way after years of cycling and only limb graze and bruise crashes

I think your statement tells us more about your proficiency as a cyclist, with your frequent limb grazes and bruise crashes, than about whether helmets make you safer.

There has been no clear statistical evidence that helmets make people safer, unlike car seat belts or motorcycle helmets or separate cycling paths. Actual scientists have actual proof that those work, unlike bicycle helmets. We do know that helmet-laws cause less cycling and more injuries. Cyclists are also often blamed for their injuries when they don't wear one.

So the unscientific claims about the usefulness of helmets bolster the enemies of cycling. It allows them to pretend to care for cyclists while doing something that doesn't cost any tax-payer money and just inconveniences cyclists. It's the classic strategy of doing something that doesn't work, but seems logical and has solid support by the less-informed among your enemy. So you divide the opposition, to weaken them. At the same time, the even less informed general population gets convinced that plenty has been done, so support for measures that actually work is eroded.

You really should do more research before you make such unsubstantiated (or worse misleading) statements. As a starter check out the Snell Foundation:

http://www.smf.org/helmetfaq#aWhyHelmet

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RTB [192 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Aapje wrote:
urbane wrote:

however nasty accidents can WTF occur even at low speeds and it is only a matter of time before you injure your head, as I eventually learned the nasty way after years of cycling and only limb graze and bruise crashes

I think your statement tells us more about your proficiency as a cyclist, with your frequent limb grazes and bruise crashes, than about whether helmets make you safer.

There has been no clear statistical evidence that helmets make people safer, unlike car seat belts or motorcycle helmets or separate cycling paths. Actual scientists have actual proof that those work, unlike bicycle helmets. We do know that helmet-laws cause less cycling and more injuries. Cyclists are also often blamed for their injuries when they don't wear one.

So the unscientific claims about the usefulness of helmets bolster the enemies of cycling. It allows them to pretend to care for cyclists while doing something that doesn't cost any tax-payer money and just inconveniences cyclists. It's the classic strategy of doing something that doesn't work, but seems logical and has solid support by the less-informed among your enemy. So you divide the opposition, to weaken them. At the same time, the even less informed general population gets convinced that plenty has been done, so support for measures that actually work is eroded.

You really should do more research before you make such unsubstantiated (or worse misleading) statements. As a starter check out the Snell Foundation who will provide some enlightenment for you.

You make the same mistake as so many others on here by confusing objectives, i.e. wanting to promote cycling (entirely laudable) with the use of helmets as an inhibitor (different subject entirely).

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RTB [192 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
RTB wrote:

Surely the baseline questions that should be asked are:

1. Can head injuries be caused through the pursuit of cycling?

2. If yes, can the impact of any of those head injuries be mitigated through the use of a helmet?

How about these as baseline questions

1. should we be discouraging laziness and inactivity in general life?

[RTB] Entirely different subject to whether helmets should be worn or not and as is often the case with you here and others you focus on the symptom of the problem not the root cause. Of course obesity and lack of exercise is at epidemic proportions but what the hell has that got to do with wearing helmets for cycling or not?

2. would compulsory helmets discourage cycling?

[RTB] Irrelevant for reasons previously stated.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Reply to: posted by felixcat [272 posts]
4th November 2014 - 19:10

The original questions posed:

" 1. Can head injuries be caused through the pursuit of cycling?

2. If yes, can the impact of any of those head injuries be mitigated through the use of a helmet? "

ARE valid and it is inescapable that the answers are "yes" and "yes". It is illogical to argue otherwise or as you did alter to other things that are not the subject.

I most certainly did read the board (look before you leap cat!) as it is precisely the reason why I posted given the amount of muddled and mixed objective thinking. In regards to expertise I rather think the Snell Foundation has vastly more substance and experience to offer on the subject than Chris "try to avoid lorries" Boardman.

The Snell Foundation started out in motorsport. It's standards for motorsport helmets are no doubt worthy. It does have standards for cycle helmets because it's a logical extension of that work. But cycle helmets and motorcycle helmets and particularly motorsport certified helmets are completely different things. The Snell foundation would tell you that. Cycle helmets are not scaled down motorcycle helmets. They are made and function completely differently. The protection rating for a cycle helmet wheth BSI EC or ASI is 50 joules of impact protection.

ipso facto they are not designed to provide any level of protection in a collision with a vehicle. None. They will fail by splitting. That's not them working and saving your head. They work up to 50j by compressing the polstyrene foam. It's a one use effect. Once it's compressed already or old it doesn't even protect that much. If it splits it's because the impact was to gtreat for the styrofoam to compress. It has failed.

50j is the sort of impact a small child might suffer at very low speed. The calculation is the standard one for impact that you learned at schools ie half mass times velocity squared over two.

A 6 year old weighing an average 22Kg and travelling at say 5mph (2.3 m/s) let's do that calc

11 (ie 22/2) x (3.1squared) 9.61 = /2 = 52.85

So if you are six and you promise not to go faster than your parent can jog alongside you then a helmet could be of some use.

Just for fun though let's say you're me. 70kg and commuting your 20miles to work at an average 15mph and you come off and hit your head.

Let's do that calc

35 x (6.7 squared) 45 = 1575 / 2 = 787 Joules. And that's just me falling off and impacting my head at that speed. helmet overmatched 15 times.

But hey you're worried about cars right?

You're tootling along at 15mph and you're hit from by a vehicle travelling at 30mph.

relative speed of impact 15mph (6.7m/s) Let's make that very small car so you can't say i fixed the figures to prove a point. Let's make it a smart car. That has a kerb weight of 750kg.

let's do the calc

375 x (6.7 squared) 45 = 16875 / 2 = 8437.5 joules of impact. or an overmatch for your helmet by 168 times. That's a very small car at quite low speed.

Cycle helmets may stop you getting a scuff or a bruise but they do not protect you against serious impact. As a road safety measure they are worthless. For protecting yourself from falling off doing MTB and the like ie low speed non-direct impact then fine. Being on the deck in a bunch sprint fine (stops a pedal wound).

But for everyday ordinary cycling they have no value. Just as well wear a St Christopher or keep a rabbits foot in your saddlebag. Cycling is safe and they don't do any harm or any good either but they nmake some superstitious sorts feel safe.

Oh and the organisation for cycle helmets is not Snell (that's motorsport) it's Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

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felixcat [486 posts] 3 years ago
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RTB wrote:

Reply to: posted by felixcat [272 posts]
4th November 2014 - 19:10

The original questions posed:

" 1. Can head injuries be caused through the pursuit of cycling?

2. If yes, can the impact of any of those head injuries be mitigated through the use of a helmet? "

ARE valid and it is inescapable that the answers are "yes" and "yes". It is illogical to argue otherwise or as you did alter to other things that are not the subject.

I most certainly did read the board (look before you leap cat!) as it is precisely the reason why I posted given the amount of muddled and mixed objective thinking. In regards to expertise I rather think the Snell Foundation has vastly more substance and experience to offer on the subject than Chris "try to avoid lorries" Boardman.

It appears I failed to make myself clear. Sorry.

The answers to your questions are indeed inescapapable. The point I tried to make was that your questions can just as fairly be asked of using a car or walking. They would be just as valid and the answers the same. I assumed that you would see that this means car and walking helmets are just as reasonable. You did not show that cycling is significantly more dangerous (which would be difficult, since it is not).
My argument is that cycling is not so uniquely dangerous that helmets are justified, if they are not justified for other means of road transport, and indeed for many other everyday activities for which helmets are unthought of.
If you think walking, driving , stair climbing, going out drinking helmets should be worn I shall have to admit I was wrong about my understanding of your position.
This point, that cycling is not unusually dangerous, had already been made in the discussion thread, by me and others, and since you neglected to address it I wrongly assumed you had not read the thread.
The Snell Foundation concerns itself with testing helmets in laboratories. It assumes, like many other helmet proponents, that this is a good proxy for helmet performance in the real world. This assumption underlies the many huge overestimates of the utilty of helmet wearing and helmet laws. As the various "experiments" in compulsion show, the mechanical analysis of helmet effectiveness is utterly mistaken. Nowhere in the world has compulsion been followed by a reduction in the rate of head injury. The Snell Foundation does not concern itself with this. As far as they are concerned, if a helmet has the correct mechanical properties that is enough. The real world does not bear this out, but the SF has nothing to say about this. It just goes on with the same testing regime, without enquiring into why helmets don't work on the roads.
Boardman is probably well aware of this failure.

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andyp [1549 posts] 3 years ago
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[applause for felixcat]

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